Our mission is to save the lost and make them disciples of Christ. You might wonder, “Isn’t every church committed to that mission?” In reality, many churches are not reaching out to the unchurched nonbelievers in order to grow their churches. Instead, many often grow their churches by accepting Christians who come from other churches. This is called transfer growth. Since attendance went up, it might look like there is growth on the surface. However, there is no net gain from God’s perspective because no one was added to the Kingdom of God in the process.
The main reason many churches opt to grow through transfer growth is reaching out to the unchurched requires much more effort and time. We The Seed pursue converstion growth. That is why, though challenging, we target those who are non-Christians who don’t attend church (we call them VIPs) through our House Church Ministry, to serve and love them into following Christ. Therefore, we do not allow Christians from different churches in Toronto to join The Seed as members. I know that this might sound exclusive and even arrogant. However, it is not because we are so confident that we can grow without transfer growth or trying to feel superior to other churches. Moreover, our intent is not to block anyone at all.The real reason is to focus our every energy on reaching out to those who don’t know God’s unconditional love, even at the expense of rapid numerical growth.
Some might argue that church shouldn’t reject anyone. We are not rejecting anyone because even if we refuse to allow them to join OUR church, there are plenty of other good churches in Toronto that will welcome them. In light of GOD’s Church, they are fully welcomed. And because they are already saved, there is no kingdom loss either. Also, it takes much prayer and sacrificial love to bring people in the Kingdom of Darkness into the Kingdom of God. That is why if we allow other Christians to join us, we are bound to rely on transfer of other Christians rather than reaching out to non-Christians to grow because it is much easier.
So we ask everyone at The Seed to NOT encourage or invite your friends or acquaintances who are already attending another church in Toronto to The Seed. Even if someone is from different city looking to join The Seed, we will encourage him to look for another church because many Christians find it challenging to adjust to house church ministry culture.
Both pastors and church members want their church to grow numerically. I also know this might invite some criciticism from other Christians. So this is not an easy decision for me. However, I believe it is a small price we pay to build the church in the spirit of the New Testament. Remember, building a church culture that is evangelistic and conducive to conversion growth doesn’t come automatically: It takes intentional effort and sacrifice.